Blue Jays: It looks like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is already hard at work

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 28: Bo Bichette #11 and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays sit in the dugout during the ninth inning of their MLB game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on September 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 28: Bo Bichette #11 and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays sit in the dugout during the ninth inning of their MLB game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on September 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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It’s only been a month since the Blue Jays played their last game, but it would appear that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is already hard at work this off-season.

While it was a disappointing season for the Blue Jays in 2019, there were certainly plenty of encouraging signs for the future. One of the most significant is the talent of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who had a successful rookie campaign and will look to build on it in 2020 as a MLB sophomore.

Despite slashing .272/.339/.432 with 15 home runs, 26 doubles, and 69 RBI in 123 games during his first big league season, many viewed his debut as a bit of a disappointment. That’s because he came with as much or more hype than any Blue Jays’ prospect in franchise history, and people forget that he’s not even old enough to purchase alcohol in the United States yet.

However, his offensive output wasn’t really the source of criticism that was directed his way. He’s definitely got some work to do in order to be even an average MLB third baseman, but even that was forgiven by a lot of folks, especially as he showed steady improvement throughout the season. If there was anything negative said about the Canadian-born slugger, it usually had something to do with his conditioning.

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His weight and general build were a frequent topic of discussion, and when he hit the Injured List it only made things worse. There were some fans and even writers who saw his getting regular rest (at such a young age) as a bit of a concern as well for the long haul. Then of course there was the misunderstanding that turned into Arash Mandani’s article talking about how the son of a Hall of Famer had never been in the gym before, which wasn’t actually the case when things got sorted out in the end.

Fair or not, Guerrero Jr. is likely going to face this narrative until he can put it to rest with his performance on the field, and it looks like he’s already hard at work to get himself ready for the 2020 campaign. In fact, in a video that was posted on Lourdes Gurriel Jr‘s instagram page, young Vlad looks as fit as we’ve ever seen him as he’s skipping rope. For those that haven’t seen it (thanks to @aalyssacohen for posting a tweet of Gurriel Jr’s instagram story), it’s worth checking out, even if all you see is Rowdy Tellez’s Halloween outfit in the background.

Maybe it’s the camera angle, or perhaps it’s the outfit that Guerrero Jr is wearing for his workout, but he looks like he’s already making progress during off-season workouts, which is a great sign at this early stage of the winter. He’s always going to be a very large individual no matter what he does, but the better shape he’s in the better chance he’ll have to stay on the field for a full season, which has to be near the top of his list of goals right now.

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For what it’s worth, I really do think that the whole topic is frequently overblown, but it’s a great sign to see Vlad Jr. in the gym and working hard already. He’s still only 20 years old and you could hardly blame him if he were still resting and enjoying his first MLB off-season, but instead he’s obviously putting some time in already. If that’s the case, combining hard work with his immense raw talent has to be an encouraging sign for Blue Jays fans, and another reason why next season can’t come soon enough.

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